What’s in a name? Well, plenty actually. At the very least, it’s a lot easier to remember than a social security number, driver’s license ID number, or some other non-personal identifier. In various times, places and cultures, your name could denote your heritage, trade, gender, marital status, military rank, or exhibit some aspect of your personality, physical appearance, or circumstances surrounding your birth. That last was more common with but not limited to certain Native American tribes. In short, your name is your brand and. It helps set you apart from the crowd, and it’s not limited to people alone.
I wrote a book and branded it Redemption. That’s been the working title for the past several years anyway. Despite possible religious connotations, I thought my title was perfect. It’s strong and captures the true essence of the story. I had to re-evaluate my choice when I did a quick search on Amazon and that single word brought up over 11,000 results in the books category alone. There are books called Redemption, Beautiful Redemption, Shawshank Redemption, Redemption Mountain, Redemption Ark, Redemption of Thieves, and that’s just the beginning. So my title, my brand, my name if you will, kind of stinks. I do have one thing going for me. Although, according to Google, there are 49 Michael Sovas living in the United States, none of them currently have books listed on Amazon or any other online book store I’ve come across. If I can get potential buyers to search for me based on name only I should be all right. But finding me based on my book title might be tantamount to locating a specific Michael Smith in a national telephone directory.
In a recent blog post, I sort of pooh-poohed the current trend of using long, overly descriptive book titles to manipulate search engine logarithms. I stand by that. I would also, if possible, like to avoid being totally lost in the shuffle. It’s a delicate balance. My main character is a race car driver and kind of a manly man, I started kicking around some racing terms. Slingshot has a nice ring to it, and I was amazed when I discovered no one’s written a book called Stuck Throttle. Now those are good titles. They’re aggressive, kind of nasty, and definitely capture the racing theme. They’d also be an immediate turn off to virtually every woman who might be perusing the shelves at the bookstore. Since something like seventy percent of adult book buyers are women, I’d really prefer not to burn that bridge. My goal was to craft a story that would appeal to a wide audience. I believe I succeeded. I’d hate to ruin that with a poorly chosen title. And like I said, I am still rather attached to Redemption. Tossing it on the scrap heap just didn’t feel right.
Cash Douglas has made a career of jumping from car to car and track to track, always following the big pay day and never worrying about whose toes he might be stepping on in the process. His son is battling leukemia, and paying an ever-growing stack of medical bills is Cash’s only priority. When he signs on with RaceTech, he believes his problems are over. Frank McKinnel, the owner of RaceTech, has plans to franchise his race parts business. He wants publicity and knows hiring a black sheep like Cash Douglas is a sure way to get people talking. His decision angers at least one person as well. Slashed tires and mysterious warning messages soon lead to sabotage, assault, and attempted murder. Someone is out to get Cash, RaceTech or both. The big question is why? Frank McKinnel appears to be the only one with a clear motive. He has a knack for turning publicity into profit, but would he trash his own cars and risk the life of his driver just to sell a few more franchises? Cash has to find out before it’s too late.
That’s the blurb that will hopefully someday appear on a dust jacket. It is, in the end, a story of redemption. How could I capture that and still set myself apart from the masses? Adding a few descriptive words might help. A friend of mine suggested Race for Redemption, but decided that would be a better title for a charity walk. I toyed around with other variations and finally settled on one–A Shot at Redemption. I still haven’t decided if it sounds exactly right. If you read this blog, please drop me a line and let me know what you think.